The debate over whether it is grace or nature that directs human beings towards the beatific vision was one of the most contentious intra-Catholic theological disputes of the twentieth century. David Bentley Hart’s 2022 You Are Gods: On Nature and Supernature shows that the debate is alive and by no means merely academic and inconsequential—pantheism, tradition, orthodoxy, and heterodoxy are all very much at stake in the argument.
Author: Edward Feser (Edward Feser)
The Catholic Church insists that even popes have no authority to introduce novel doctrines. To teach that capital punishment is inherently immoral would manifestly be a novel doctrine—not simply going beyond but explicitly contradicting what the Church, scripture, and tradition have taught for two millennia.
Aquinas taught the principle that a punishment ought to be proportionate to the offense, where death is a proportionate punishment for the gravest crimes.
If E. Christian Brugger is right, then the Church has been teaching grave moral error and badly misunderstanding scripture for two millennia. Nothing less than her very credibility is at stake.
E. Christian Brugger is wrong: neither scripture nor tradition could justify a reversal of the Church’s millennia-old teaching on capital punishment
Lawrence Krauss’s “argument” for atheism is like that of an artist who confines himself to using black and white materials and then concludes that, since color doesn’t show up in his drawings of fire engines and apples, it follows that fire engines and apples are not really red.
If David Bentley Hart wants his arguments to be persuasive, he should offer a reasoned critique of the actual arguments of his opponents rather than continue to indulge what he admits is an “emotional” aversion to Thomism.
Thomists don’t believe that animals go to heaven, but not for the reasons that David Bentley Hart seems to think. Unlike human beings, non-human animals are entirely corporeal creatures—all matter and no spirit.
Natural law theory makes a very limited, but very important claim—that there is common ground between all human beings, and particularly between religious believers and non-believers, on which moral disagreements can be rationally adjudicated.
While not explicitly denying the principle of proportionality, Tollefsen implicitly rejects it, leaving his argument not only counterintuitive but incoherent.
If one accepts the legitimacy of punishment and the principle of proportionality, then it is impossible to claim that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong.
Seeing that scientism is unsustainable, we must embrace a return to philosophy. The second article in a two-part series.
The problem with scientism is that it is either self-defeating or trivially true. F.A. Hayek helps us to see why. The first article in a two-part series.